High School Sports

Thunderbirds win, lose big

Tumwater's James Nolan, top, gets North Thurston's Austin Ottenbacher in trouble on his way to the 119-pound title at the Pat Alexander Tournament.
Tumwater's James Nolan, top, gets North Thurston's Austin Ottenbacher in trouble on his way to the 119-pound title at the Pat Alexander Tournament. The Olympian

TUMWATER - To almost no one’s surprise, the Tumwater wrestling team cruised to victory Saturday at its annual Pat Alexander Tournament.

The Thunderbirds, however, have much loftier goals than winning regular-season tournaments – even their own. They have legitimate state-championship aspirations.

But those hopes took a hit Saturday, when Colton Weiks, wrestling at 135 pounds, dislocated his elbow in the quarterfinals to put his status for the rest of the season in doubt. The senior placed seventh at state at 130 pounds last season.

“Hopefully, Colton will be able to come back,” said Tumwater coach Tony Prentice, who also dislocated his elbow as a senior wrestling for Tumwater. “We expected big things out of him and he’s one of our leaders. He’s a big part of this team.”

Despite the specter of Weiks’ injury hanging over them, the T-Birds dominated and sent 10 wrestlers to the championship round – eight of whom won their respective weight class to give Tumwater the team title by nearly 100 points.

The T-Birds finished with 231.5 points, well ahead of runner-up North Thurston (134).

Easton Hargrave cruised to the 189-pound championship for Tumwater, pinning in the first round two of the three wrestlers he faced. Hargrave, runner-up at state last season, said his thoughts were with his best friend and teammate Weiks. He said he was headed to the hospital to visit him later on Saturday evening.

“We won, which is good, but overall I think it was a bad day because Colton is a huge part of our program and we’re going to need him at the state tournament to be on top,” Hargrave said.

Hargrave’s sophomore brother, Trevor, took home a victory at 171 pounds. The Nolan brothers, James (119) and Cameron (125) also won their divisions.

While Tumwater ran away with the team title, North Thurston fought and clawed its way to a second place finish, edging Sumner by a single point – 134-133. Senior Caleb Richards scored a pin in the 285-pound championship match for the Rams, and junior Derrick McDannald won at 135 pounds, also via a pin.

But the biggest North Thurston victory of the day came at 215 pounds, where freshman Jake Grantham pinned Tumwater’s Dalton Calquhon.

“I was really proud of us. We really stepped up as a team and came together,” Richards said. “Jake Grantham, as a freshman, really did a great job stepping up, not being scared. A lot of those guys weighed a lot more than him.”

Black Hills and River Ridge were the only other local squads competing in the nine-team tournament. The Wolves placed fourth and had three wrestlers – Logan Gillihan (125), Trev’r Thornton (160) and Garrison Stamp (171) – place second. The Hawks were led by junior Austin Cornwell, who was second at 189 pounds